Rupp Arena to host NCAA Tourney regionals

For three straight seasons, Kentucky’s road to the Final Four might be less than a mile.

The NCAA announced on Thursday that Rupp Arena will be a women’s basketball regional tournament host in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Based on the tournament rules as they work now, if Kentucky is one of the top 16 seeds, the Cats could host the first two rounds of the tournament on their home floor (Memorial Coliseum) and then their regional would be at the downtown venue.

As long as UK doesn’t play three or more games at Rupp Arena in 2016, 2017 or 2018, it would still be considered a neutral site, NCAA spokesman Rick Nixon confirmed.

It will be the first women’s basketball championship games since the Final Four was hosted at Rupp Arena since 1986.

The Rupp Arena regionals are scheduled for March 25-28 in 2016, March 24-27 in 2017 and March 23-26 in 2018, according to the release.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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